It seems that when it comes to the Russian invasion of Georgia in August 2008, impartiality is very hard to come by. A supposedly independent commission from the European Union is soon due to put out its report on who did what, but the German magazine Der Spiegel has already leaked the story – which points the blame principally on Georgia. Naturally a lot of people don’t like that conclusion. Below is an excerpt from an interesting piece disputing both the Der Spiegel article and the commission’s unreleased report, and later today we’ll be putting up a video of some interviews commenting specifically on this blame game.
The already embattled Georgian President Mikheil “Misha” Saakashvili’s ill-fortunes don’t seem to be improving. In late March, Der Spiegel published a damning account of the yet-unreleased findings of the EU inquiry into the brief August war between Georgia and Russia. In short, the article places blame for the conflict most heavily upon the Georgian leadership, particularly Saakashvili. Paired with the PR blow of the New York Times‘ open questioning of the Georgian account in early November, there is a shifting consensus of the narrative. However, like the Times article, the circumstances of the Spiegel piece provide context for doubt and showcases more framed innuendo than evidence.
The EU-sponsored inquiry was officially announced in early December2008 to investigate the causes of the August war in an objectivemanner. In a symbolic bid to highlight the commission’s neutrality,Swiss veteran diplomat Heidi Tagliavini was appointed to lead theinvestigation. Although the final report has yet to be released, the Spiegel piece illustrates findings that explicitly lay majority blame with Georgia.
According to Spiegel, the inquiry’s verdict is chiefly rootedin the existence of a rumored document known as Order Number 2. Issuedon August 7, 2008 by Tbilisi, the order allegedly calls for theGeorgian military to “reestablish constitutional order,” which Spiegelreports as possible proof of premeditated aggression by Georgia. Thesesame words were also uttered by Georgian General Mamuka Kurashvili onAugust 7th in televised remarks, and alluded to by the Russian deputyhead of the general staff, Anatoly Nogovitsyn, in consultations withthe EU investigation. To the commission and Spiegel, the exposure of this secret order will demonstrate that it was Georgia, and not Russia, who is guilty of aggression.